Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Could a gay Congressman be quarantined?

Well it took a couple of days, but I just knew that somehow, some way, someone would find a way to conflate homosexuality with pedophilia, a la the Catholic Church. I am just a bit shocked at the organization that has decided to give it a try. I had honestly expected this kind of thing to spew from the mouths of people like James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, or Pat Robertson.

But alas it was the Wall Street Journal:

But in today's politically correct culture, it's easy to understand how senior Republicans might well have decided they had no grounds to doubt Mr. Foley merely because he was gay and a little too friendly in emails. Some of those liberals now shouting the loudest for Mr. Hastert's head are the same voices who tell us that the larger society must be tolerant of private lifestyle choices, and certainly must never leap to conclusions about gay men and young boys. Are these Democratic critics of Mr. Hastert saying that they now have more sympathy for the Boy Scouts' decision to ban gay scoutmasters? Where's Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on that one?

How on earth could the editors of the Wall Street Journal have allowed this link between homosexuality and pedophilia to be made without at least doing some research first? The implications in this article are quite clear and so are the intended consequences. Blaming everything on Mr. Foley’s sexual orientation is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to divert attention from the abuse and the willingness of the GOP leadership to look the other way. It is also an in-your-face attempt to perpetrate a myth that has been politically advantageous for the Republicans in the past. This is not journalistic integrity, this is shameful damage control. And whoever gave their seal of approval on this editorial should be ashamed.

Blatant ignorance is not an excuse. The Wall Street Journal has an obligation to do at least a little research into pedophilia and the statistical data available on the sexual orientation of known pedophiles before painting all gays with such a broad brush. The failure to do so has tremendously damaged any credibility this organization has on the subject.

Might I suggest that the Wall Street Journal check out Gregory Herek, Ph.D., a Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Davis. In fact let me help out (since this whole article smacks of journalistic laziness and political opportunism) with an excerpt from Dr. Herek’s website containing Facts about Homosexuality and Child Molestation:

Members of disliked minority groups are often stereotyped as representing a danger to the majority society's most vulnerable members. Historically, Black men in the United States were often falsely accused of raping White women, and commonly lynched as a result. Jews in the Middle Ages were accused of murdering Christian babies in ritual sacrifices.

In a similar fashion, gay people have often been portrayed as a threat to children. Back in 1977, when Anita Bryant campaigned successfully to repeal a Dade County (FL) ordinance prohibiting anti-gay discrimination, she named her organization "Save Our Children," and warned that "a particularly deviant-minded [gay] teacher could sexually molest children" (Bryant, 1977, p. 114). [Bibliographic references are on a different web page]

In recent years, antigay activists have routinely asserted that gay people are child molesters. This argument was often made in debates about the Boy Scouts of America's policy to exclude gay scouts and scoutmasters. It also was raised in connection with recent scandals about the Catholic church's attempts to cover up the abuse of young males by priests. Indeed, the Vatican's early response to the 2002 revelations of widespread Church cover-ups of sexual abuse by priests was to declare that gay men should not be ordained.

The Wall Street Journal has done a tremendous disservice to every gay, law-abiding citizen out there who is just as sickened and outraged as everyone else about this very tragic story.

As Dr. Herek points out, it is much more comfortable for conservatives to shift the national discussion from questions about the congressional leadership to the more comfortable turf of gay-bashing. Good work Wall Street Journal, you did a fine job with the task at hand.

Hat tip to Andrew Share

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